Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Alchemist Vessel - Featured Artist of the Week

The Alchemist Vessel is my featured artist this week.  She has wonderful pieces of wearable art in her shop. Personally I think she has described her work better than I could myself, so here is just an excerpt of what she has to say.

My love of nature and the outdoors has inspired many of my creations and I try to offer only the finest quality natural Gemstones, glass beads, and other high quality materials. As a designer I would like customers to be as happy and pleased with the pieces they purchase as I am in creating each unique one. Each piece is handcrafted made with love, meticulous care and attention to detail, with a sense varying styles, beauty and excitement.

She takes ordinary materials and turns them into extraordinary creations. Her chain maille is beautifully done and she always strives to create something unique to her own idea of perfection.  Here I show you just a few of those creations.

This is her Love Chain featuring genuine garnet.  Beautiful!!!

Using a Full Persian design and Czech glass beads she has created her beautiful Ants Bracelet. Gorgeous

And who could possible desire a more beautiful piece for telling the time.  Again the Full Persian style weave, this is just amazing.

She also has a shop names Blackbird Metalworks  where she shows her fine jewelry design.  She never stops learning and this shows how dedicated she is to her art.

The work you will see in this shop is handcrafted, designed and assembled by Alix herself.  This shop is a division of her original shop The Alchemist Vessel and for now is on a trial run but you won't want to miss it. Currently she has four beautiful pieces listed there and I am sure that you will want to make sure to stop by and have a look see. There is nothing more beautiful than an artist who is dedicated to continuous learning and creating from that process.  Alix does just that.

Here is her handcrafted Filigree Leaf Motif ring. Amazing detail.

This is Alix hand forged, from a blank sheet of sterling silver, stamped, antiques and has inset of genuine turquoise.  WOW

Not only does Alix create some of the most beautiful jewelry that I have seen, she is also a wonderful person.  I have become friends with Alix through our association in the Handmade Artists Shops where you will find Alix, myself and hundreds of other immensely talented artists and their work.

You can find Alix at all of the following places as well, so it won't take much effort to see her creations or get in touch with her for your own beautiful piece of jewelry.

Be sure to visit and while you are there make sure you take a look at everything, you won't be sorry.

Be blessed

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Freedom - Art - Beginnings

Yes, my title is a bit ambiguous. I am aware, however, I ask that you continue and I think you will 'begin' to understand.

I have been doing some reading lately on the various art forms that I use.  Currently, I am considered a jewelry maker, a beader.  For those who know me well, know that this in only one of the art forms that I work with.  It is the one that at the moment I concentrate on because it is where my passion is at the moment.  I am however, spreading my wings a bit, still with beads but for different creations.  But that is another story.

I started my beading journey as many do, simply stringing beads into a lovely assortment of necklaces and bracelets and then on to creating earrings.  I started with stones of various types, marble, jade and others and have a huge stash of unused beads.  I then moved on to Swarovski crystals and glass pearls, yep same thing,huge stash of unused beads.  Then I became inspired by seed beads and the enormous amount of designs that could be created using the different beading techniques for these and yes, I have a huge stash of those as well and continue to buy more.  Why you ask, well because I am not done with that particular art form, just not truly inspired at the moment.  I still use Swarovski and glass pearls as well, just not as much.  So suffice it to say, I am on the hunt.  Hunt for what you might ask.  Well for anything that is different, spectacular, out of the norm.

But I also wanted to make sure that I grow in my art form not only in designing and creation but in how I do business as well.  I made a decision to always check and make sure that I purchase my products from companies supporting Fair Trade goods.  I am not talking about  Free Trade which simply refers to the free movement of goods between countries.  Fair trade means the workers are provided safe working conditions and environment, there is no slave labor or children used in the production of these goods and the workers are paid a living wage for their area.

So in my search, I found what many of you may already have found, a) there are not really that many companies who can prove they support Fair Trade.  For my purposes, beading, I went looking of course, for beads and I found 3 sources of beads that I have absolutely fallen in love with.  Now because writing about this took form way too quickly in my head and I had to get it down or lose my train of thought, Yeah comes with age, lol, I could only find a couple of photos to show you what I found that I could use immediately.

In finding these beauties, I had to take a virtual trip to Uganda  (Mizuri Beads), Nepal (Samunnat and The Colorful Journey) and Kenya (Kazuri Bead Factory).  What I found was beyond amazing.  We all watch the news from time to time so we all know about slave trade, prostitution and the like.

Check out TripAdvisor Photos of Kazuri Bead Factoryfor photos is of the Kazuri Bead Factory in Kenya.  This was originally began by Lady Jane Wood, many years ago in a shed on her farm in Kenya (does 'Out of Africa' ring a bell) with 2 women. The reference to Out of Africa is to show you where this farm in Kenya is, the same farm used for this movie. Lady Wood wanted to find a way to enable the women of that area to become more self-sufficient and now many years later, there is a much larger facility employing about 350 women and they are paid at 3.5 times the average wage for Kenya.  They employ single mothers, widows and special needs women.  Many of these women provide support for 15-20 extended family members from their wages.  This has enabled women to free themselves from the disadvantages of a country where women were not allowed to work and many were sold as slaves or prostitutes to the highest bidder by their families.

These photo shows the wide array of beauty that is created by these women.  The beads are rolled and formed by hand much like we do with our polymer clay.  However, the material these women work with is clay from the Mt. Kenya area and is dug by hand for this and other purposes.  Then they are fired in a kiln, removed, painted and refired.  The designs are typical African designs from their area and their history.  Can we say "AWESOME".

Another area that I found was in Nepal.  In this area of Jhapa Nepal a group of people decided to help a few women who had come to them for help in escaping domestic violence and trafficking. Thus Samunnat was formed.  You can read more about this at A Colorful Journey - Samunnat.  There is a Samunnat shop on Etsy. Do visit the site and learn more about the amazing journey for amazing people who deserve our support.

Now let's travel to Uganda.  We have all heard of Uganda in the news and the conditions there as I have found continue to be horrid and especially for women. I give you Mizuri Beads.  These beads can be found in the US in many bead and gem shows and other shops as well.  You can purchase them wholesale, but the purpose of this information is to give to you the background and tell you from whence they came.  Please read their story here. Story and Ethics of Mizuri Beads.  Also visit this link to see the beauty created by these women and the barkcloth beads have been made for hundreds of years, so their history is phenomenal as well.  Mizuri Beads Blog.  Just scroll down to see all the beauty.

So yes my title is a bit ambiguous, but apt I believe.  Our freedom comes from our art and our art comes from going back to the beginnings and realizing that we all have the ability to provide support to one another and to support our world.  We can do our part in making sure that others like us are protected, given the ability to become self-sustaining and to feel like they are doing their part to take care of our families and our world as well as make sure that they are safe while doing this.

I hope that you have enjoyed my ramblings today.  If so, please leave a comment.

Be blessed

Monday, January 21, 2013

Amazing Artist Feature This Week

This week I wanted to feature a fantastic artist. Larissa and her husband Eric have two shops at the Handmade Artists Shops.  First I will tell you about Reef Botanicals and then a bit about Fabric of My Mind.  But first just a teensy bit about the artists.  First their talent is amazing and truly speaks for itself.  Second, not only did this couple fall in love with each other, they realized that they were in love with making all kinds of things from scratch.  They cook, bake, brew, paint, knit, sew, photograph and not only that but Larissa is also a thespian and works with the costumes.  In addition to all of the above, both Larissa and Eric have full time jobs outside their home, Larissa is in the legal field and Eric is in IT.  So when do these amazing people find the time to do all of this. Who knows.  I wonder if they ever get to sleep.

Here are a few of the amazing things that these two creative people do.
            Fudge Chunk Soap                                                                          Romance Fizzy Bath Bomb                   

Chocolate Decadence Candles

These are just a few, you can't believe what else you will find in this shop. Now on to

Here in Fabric of My Mind you will find an assortment of wonderful gifts or if you like you could just buy them for yourself.  The selection and variation are bountiful. The items vary from hand knitted washcloths, scarves, puzzles, cuddly toys for the little ones to some stunning photography.  I mean, you name it, you can find it here. Take a look at a few.
                                                                                                                      Jumbo Dolphin Crayons
     Dinosaur Puzzle                                                                                      

Hand knitted washcloths

Amazing Photography

Check out this amazing couple and their work here:

or visit their blog at

Enjoy your browsing.

Be blessed

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Featuring Rasmussen Gems & Jewelry

This week I would like to tell you a bit about a friend of mine from the Handmade Artists site.  His name is John Rasmussen and he is a lapidary artist. He taught geology for 10 years and then went into medicine and worked and retired from emergency medical services.  His love is rocks and gems.  He has also received education at the International Gem Society Gemological Institute of America.

John does all of the handcrafting on the gemstones in his shop at Rasmussen Gems and Jewelry and with his wife Debora all of the jewelry that they sell is designed and created in their shop.  Debora does all of the beading and design while John cuts the stones and also does the metalsmithing and wire wrapping.

Some of the most beautiful jewelry can be seen in his shop at Handmade Artists.  I would like to show you a bit of what they have to offer.

.Stunning Lapis Lazuli wrapped earrings.

Lovely Unakite and Copper Bracelet

Amazing Picture Jasper Pendant

Please stop by and take a look at all the awesome jewelry created by this amazing artist and his wife.  You are sure to find a piece that is just to die for.

You can find John and his beauties here

and be sure to catch his blog at

Take care and be blessed.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Reflections Featured Artist

Well, I guess I did something really wrong, the blog god did not like.  I did this post last week as I was supposed to do and it was shared and even commented on, then for some reason it just went out into netherland and disappeared.

There is simply nothing this wonderful artist from Albuquerque, NM does not do and she does it very well or as she says, "if I can't do it well, I won't do it".  She grew up drawing for hours and hours and dreaming of becoming an artists.  Well you know what happens to most of us, life gets in the way and it did to Kris as well, but not completely, because now she is making up for lost time.  She does absolutely everything, beautifully.

Anyway,  Kris is the owner of a couple of shops on the Handmade Artists site.  One is Reflections

 Kris, loves art in all mediums.  She paints, she works with stain glass and she knits and crochets.  There is no end to her talents.  The Reflections shops is where Kris lists her stained glass pieces which are by the way just stunning and she also lists here her painted glass ornaments.  Now keep in mind that these ornaments are not just for Christmas.  You can have these hanging around year round to add a touch of beauty to your space.  She also has some lovely wind chimes that she has created with stained glass.  

One of my favorite pieces is her stained glass butterfly pendant.  Take a look

Another favorite is the Almost White Black Bear.  This is a piece that I would love to have hanging in my kitchen window.

Now to her other shop. lisianblue.  This shop name comes from the lisianthus flower and she especially loves the blue ones so she combined these into her shop name 'lisianblue'. 

Here you will find her love of crochet.  She does hats, baby booties, hair clips, scarves.  Want something a bit different, just let her know, she will certainly figure it out.

Here are a couple of items from her lisianblue shop.  Remember you just must go take a look at her shops to see everything as there is just not room for me to show you everything, so I am showing you my favs.

I just love this Winter Cloche with a Roaring 20' look.

You can also, get washcloths from Kris.  Love these colors and they match my bath, hmm.  What to do, to do.

But better than the amazing crochet items, more than the beautiful stain glass pieces, more than all of these things combined.  I get to call this amazing artist my friend.

Check her out here

Lisianblue Handmade Artist Shop
Reflections Handmade Artist Shop
Lisianblue Blog

Have a good look around and be sure to come back for the next featured artist.

Be blessed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Out with the Old, In with the New

Out with the old and in with the new is something that I have heard said repeatedly over the years at the beginning of the  New Year.  For many this is a true statement as they discard the old and welcome new things in their lives.Here I am going to tell you about what it is that I will be keeping from 2012.  Much of the rest is debatable.

I learned many new techniques for my jewelry, new patterns for my crochet and one of the most important things that took place in 2012 is that I began to homeschool my wonderful 5 year old grandson.

There are other things that I don't want to put away with the old year either.  These are the wonderful friends that I made in 2012.  Friends that I love dearly. Even though I have never met these folks, I count them as friends because they have always been there with their loving support, never ending assistance when I needed help and wonderful advice when I asked.

Debbi offers me wonderfully sound advice on how to help my grandson when I am in a quandary because she is a wonderful foster mother and has had many varied experiences through this work.  She has given me resource information for lesson plans and instructional materials for my grandson as well as to encourage me in other sometimes frenzied areas of my life.

Then there is Monika, a wonderful friend with a beautiful spirit who has told us of many of her German traditions of the holidays.  Some of her traditions were similar to things that we did in my family long ago, but as often happens, people and things change for one reason or another and traditions become lost or new ones created. She is also a truly funny person, giving us all a little something to smile about each and every day.

Sandi and Larissa, two wonderfully talented friends also are many times the voice of reason when I need it.  They have many times cut through the debris of an issue for a critique that I may have overlooked or not even thought of, but always sound.  They too offer humor and a lighthearted way of looking at the world about us.  Larissa is one of the most creative and talented artisans that I have had the privilege with which to become acquainted.

Kris and Nancy, wonderful friends who through their love of art have given me insights into some of the passion that I have allowed to simmer under the burden of everyday life.  Inciting me to think about what is important and to consider acting on those things which I love rather than lay them to the side just to complete the more mundane.

Then there is Lisa and Alix, two wonderfully talented artists who give daily of their talent to help others understand and grow in their own area by their advice and knowledge of the various mediums in which we all work.

And of course there is Andrew and Kimberly.  These two are the creators and host of the most wonderful site I have found anywhere on the Internet, the Handmade Artists Shops & Forum.  This site is where I have met all of these wonderful friends and learned so many things.  Andrew and Kimberly are always there to offer support, care, advice and help when needed.  I often wonder when they ever get to sleep.  They have two beautiful young boys  that are the center of their world and yet they still find the time to always be there for all the folks on the site whenever needed no matter when or for what purpose.  They are also artists in their own right.  Kimberly creates some beautiful painted glass and they also both create wonderful chainmaille jewelry. But first and foremost is their desire to promote handmade work of any kind.  They believe that handmade is better and that handmade artists should be recognized and given a special place to belong, to show their work, share their ideas and offer themselves to that end.

This list of friends is by no means complete, but as I said, I could not possibly list everyone here.  I don't generally make resolutions because I feel that to resolve to do something usually is just a way to NOT get it done, however, I would like to make a goal.

My goal for 2013 is to try to figure out a way to meet some of these wonderful friends in person, to give them a big hug and thank them for their friendship and encouragement.  Though it seems impossible to me at this time that I will ever get to New York, Utah, New Mexico, Washington or any of the other places my friends reside, I do happen to know that through God, all things are possible.  I know that He led me to the site where I met these friends and I know that He will lead me on.

Thank you to all these friends and the many others that are not listed here individually.  Know that you are dear to my heart and I look forward to the New Year with you all.